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Structured Collaboration Across a Transformative Knowledge Network—Learning Across Disciplines, Cultures and Contexts?

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SPRU—Science Policy Research Unit/STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9SL, UK
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Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, 1650 San Martín, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
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Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad (LANCIS), Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 06320 Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico
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TRCSS, JNU—Transdisciplinary Research Cluster on Sustainability Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India
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Institute of Development Studies/STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
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African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) ICIPE, Duduville Campus, Kasarani 00608, Nairobi, Kenya
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School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5502, USA
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African Development Bank, 1387 Abidjan 01, Cote D’Ivoire
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School of Global Studies/STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
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Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 113 51 Stockholm, Sweden
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Centre for Food Policy, City University of London, London WC2N 5DU, UK
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School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100000, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062499
Received: 5 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collaboration for Sustainability)
Realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require transformative changes at micro, meso and macro levels and across diverse geographies. Collaborative, transdisciplinary research has a role to play in documenting, understanding and contributing to such transformations. Previous work has investigated the role of this research in Europe and North America, however the dynamics of transdisciplinary research on ‘transformations to sustainability’ in other parts of the world are less well-understood. This paper reports on an international project that involved transdisciplinary research in six different hubs across the globe and was strategically designed to enable mutual learning and exchange. It draws on surveys, reports and research outputs to analyse the processes of transdisciplinary collaboration for sustainability that took place between 2015–2019. The paper illustrates how the project was structured in order to enable learning across disciplines, cultures and contexts and describes how it also provided for the negotiation of epistemological frameworks and different normative commitments between members across the network. To this end, it discusses lessons regarding the use of theoretical and methodological anchors, multi-loop learning and evaluating emergent change (including the difficulties encountered). It offers insights for the design and implementation of future international transdisciplinary collaborations that address locally-specific sustainability challenges within the universal framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. View Full-Text
Keywords: pathways; transdisciplinary research; international collaboration; sustainable development goals; theory of change; transformation; sustainable development goals pathways; transdisciplinary research; international collaboration; sustainable development goals; theory of change; transformation; sustainable development goals
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Ely, A.; Marin, A.; Charli-Joseph, L.; Abrol, D.; Apgar, M.; Atela, J.; Ayre, B.; Byrne, R.; Choudhary, B.K.; Chengo, V.; Cremaschi, A.; Davis, R.; Desai, P.; Eakin, H.; Kushwaha, P.; Marshall, F.; Mbeva, K.; Ndege, N.; Ochieng, C.; Ockwell, D.; Olsson, P.; Oxley, N.; Pereira, L.; Priya, R.; Tigabu, A.; Van Zwanenberg, P.; Yang, L. Structured Collaboration Across a Transformative Knowledge Network—Learning Across Disciplines, Cultures and Contexts? Sustainability 2020, 12, 2499.

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